Today, we read that the low-slung dark nightmare on the lake
might be replaced by a cone-shaped white funhouse on the lake.
Still, something on the lake where there should be nothing–
I wish Burnham would come back from the dead, read everyone
a scrap of his plan as he scrapes off so many ticky-tacky barnacles
that belong not to the people but to certain people. I have a theory
that Rahm Emanuel wants me gone, is trying to force me out
by making life here untenable. If you walk three minutes
down certain alleys in my neighborhood, you can still find
an alternate universe of riding toys and barbecue grills,
even clotheslines and people talking to each other.
On the sidewalk outside Cholie’s, under the Metra tracks
(the viaduct, we say here), I once saw two or three pigeons
squabbling over one subpar slice of sausage pizza. This was
not far from where just the other day, someone walked up
and shot into someone’s car and then ran away. Gunshots–
these used to occur just outside the invisible borders of our
island, and lately they happen within them. We all
tell each other about them and ask ourselves
just what the hell is going on. Postcards of our city
still show those sailboats, valiant as anything
mythological, and the lake, still standing there
as always–glassy and stupid, believing it’s a sea.
Prompts: Poetic Asides (a poem about a restaurant/food place), NaPoWriMo (a lengthy list that results in a snapshot of some location), and Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (remains).
14 thoughts on “Greetings from the Remains of Chicago”
That sounds so scary. A part of Chicago outsiders don’t see.
Yes, it’s here, and so are all the great things that a tourist would see or imagine to be here. It’s all true, which is what makes it so confusing.
This is a powerful read. The birds with the pizza and the gunman shooting into a car – I admire the way you compared them. I especially love your closing lines, the lake, “glassy and stupid, believing it’s a sea.” Wonderful writing, as always.
Thank you, Sherry! It was a chance to tap into some very strong and mixed feelings I’ve had lately.
I agree with Sherry, quite a powerful piece..!!
Thank you, Sanaa!
Those sailboats beleiving it’s the sea is a wonderful closing… Also those contrasts of gunshots and joy…
Thanks, Bjorn. I’m glad you saw the joy, too. It’s not all terrible here. I love it, and that’s the catch.
So disturbing… like a remnant from a cataclysm and all values and old realities lose their sense of context. Quite eerie.
Thank you, Gemma. It feels very much like my city is at a crossroads, and I don’t know which way it will go.
What a close–a really wonderful vibrant (in a sad and angry and real way) piece. Thanks. k.
Thanks, K. I’ve seen a lot of changes in my almost 20 years here, or maybe I’m just older and less naive.
Love the inclusion of the conspiracy theory about making your life untenable 😉
Thank you! It does feel that way at times.